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Sustainability 2012, 4(7), 1448-1465; doi:10.3390/su4071448

Why is There No Tragedy in These Commons? An Analysis of Forest User Groups and Forest Policy in Bhutan

Department of Natural Resources Science, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, Rhode Island 02881, USA
Received: 21 May 2012 / Revised: 21 June 2012 / Accepted: 3 July 2012 / Published: 5 July 2012
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Governments around the world are increasingly devolving authority for forest management to the local level in an attempt to strengthen the management of national forests. Community forestry programs are recognized as providing a range of economic and social benefits and having a positive impact on increasing forest cover. However, concerns have been raised about the capability of user groups to manage community forests in a sustainable and equitable manner. This study analyzed the initial experience with community forestry in Bhutan and assessed the degree to which national policies have enhanced the likelihood of successful management by forestry user groups. The study found that the studied communities possess many attributes of successful forest user groups due to historical and socio-cultural reasons. National policies, including the unusual provision of handing over well-stocked forests to user groups, have further enhanced the likelihood of sustainable management by forest user groups. The initial experience of forest management by user groups in Bhutan is promising, and merits further study now that that a much larger number of community forests (CFs) have experience with harvesting.
Keywords: Bhutan; community forestry; forest policy; forest user groups Bhutan; community forestry; forest policy; forest user groups
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Buffum, B. Why is There No Tragedy in These Commons? An Analysis of Forest User Groups and Forest Policy in Bhutan. Sustainability 2012, 4, 1448-1465.

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